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Pain meds and weight gain

FocusFFocus Posts: 59
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Pain Medications
I am having a hard time finding CREDIBLE sources that show weight gain is a side effect of pain medications and ESI injections. I have gone from an in shape 180 to a round 215 and am coming due for my biannual fitness assesment at work. My diet is good and healthy and down to about 1000 calories a day but I am limited in my physical activities. I used to run distance now i try to walk the block. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have been on Fentanyl, Vicoden, Norco, Morphine (pills and pump), Paxil, Celexa, Prednisone, Valium, Skelaxin, and had 2 ESI injections. Currently am on Norco, Skelaxin and Celexa.
Live one day at a time and do it with no regrets. I hold my head up high with pride to the fact that i wont let my injury beat me.
Lumbar surgery 2009
Cervical fusion C4 to C7 2009
Neurostimulator 2010
Heart ablation 2011
Lumbar fusion L4 to S1 2012 and now L1 2 3 and 4 are split and bulging.


  • And Lyrica. I missed that one.
    Live one day at a time and do it with no regrets. I hold my head up high with pride to the fact that i wont let my injury beat me.
    Lumbar surgery 2009
    Cervical fusion C4 to C7 2009
    Neurostimulator 2010
    Heart ablation 2011
    Lumbar fusion L4 to S1 2012 and now L1 2 3 and 4 are split and bulging.
  • Copied this directly from Lyrica's web site:

    Some of the most common side effects of LYRICA are dizziness, blurry vision, weight gain, sleepiness, trouble concentrating, swelling of your hands and feet, dry mouth, and feeling "high". If you have diabetes, tell your doctor about any skin sores.

    Copied from Some Rx Site:

    There are other possible problems that can occur in people taking Celexa. These rare side effects occur in less than 1 percent of patients. For these side effects, it is difficult to tell whether they are actually caused by the medication itself or something else.

    Some of these rare but possible Celexa side effects include, but are not limited to:

    High blood pressure (hypertension)
    Leg cramps
    Weight gain (see Celexa and Weight Gain)
    Hair loss (see Hair Loss From Celexa)
    Atrial fibrillation
    Congestive heart failure
    Kidney stones
    Dry eyes
    Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

    Not able to find anything specific concerning pain meds and weight gain. But lack of regular aerobic exercise, even with restricted calories, can cause weight gain. And the 2 previous meds have weight gain as side effects. Good luck with your physical.

    Best Wishes,
  • Just from my own personal experience, I gained 20lbs when I was on Paxil (noticed that was one you had listed) in 2 months and I gained about 10lbs in 2months when I tried Lyrica. I was a very active 29yr old 145lbs. I'm now 32 and gained a substantial amount since then and embarrassed to even list my weight at this point.

    I do beleive that pain meds also contribute to weight gain but not sure if listed as a side effect. I do know that Paxil and Lyrics have weight gain listed as a side effect. I also beleive it's a combination of inactivity and the medications.

    In order for me to lose weight, I have to drastically reduce my calories to under 1000 which is not healthy. I'm currently taking the OTC weight loss medication Alli to help give me a boost with my weight loss as well as eat healthier and smaller portions. I've lost 25lbs in appx 10months. It's going to be a slow process. I can't recommend Alli without talking to your physician first since you are on other medication.

    I wish you luck with losing weight. It's very tough to be in chronic pain and trying to maintain your weight. I know that the increased weight gain does contribute to my pain and it's a very frustrating process.
  • I gained 22 lbs in 6 months on Lyrica. However, the weight gain is in appetite, not calorie burning, so if you're honestly and accurately tracking your calories I'm not sure that's the problem.

    Have you had a full blood work-up at the doctor and discussed this with him/her?
  • has been a side effect that for me was always an issue. I refuse to take Lyrica due to the side effects and possible weight gain. ESI injections can also cause weight gain, my PCP told me it doesn't matter how you get the steroid, once its in your system its in and the side effects with it.

    For my upcoming surgery I wanted to lose weight to make it easier for me to recover from and to see if it would ease my back pain, so he put me on phentermine for a few months, it has worked well for me and I have lost over 20lbs and back down to a size 135lbs, ofcourse thats not for everyone.

    Its only allowed for a few months, you must be monitored by your doctor every month and have blood work to make sure the weight gain is not due to a throid problem.

    Loosing weight is a battle for alot of us, I wish you lots of luck and hopefully you can eventually get off of some of these pills which have so many side effects.

    Take care,
  • Focus said:
    And Lyrica. I missed that one.
    We have a winner ;-) Most everyone who has used Lyrica complains about weight gain. Usually in the 20-30lb range from what I have observed here. I gained about that on Lyrica and really wasn't on it for long.

    Don't know about the others you have listed. It also doesn't help that most people on these meds are not able to exercise at the rate they need to fend off the weight. I was told Lyrica just makes you want to eat all the time. I really never noticed that myself.
  • hi! :H i had a 30# weight gain when i first started using Lyrica.. i was able to get it off after about a year.. most everyone i know expericences a weight gain while on Lyrica so i might look at that as your source.. of course your doctor knows best!! good luck! Jenny :)
  • will be doing the damage {weight gain} when i was on prednisone for crohn's i put 3 stone on and when i was on lyrica and then gabapentin i also put 3 stone one .it took me 4 years to get rid of the prednisone weight {through dog walking very day but since the last operation i have not been able to walk far so the weight gain from the various gaba type drugs{now stopped due to weight gain and water retention has stayed with me} i have found that increasing the narcotics helps with the nerve pain and dose not put weight on {BUT DONT increase any meds without consulting your doctor}
  • Seems like most everything I am on causes the weight gain. I may need to talk to the doc about the phentermine. We knew the steroids have done a job on me but wans never really sure how the pills did too. Thanks for all the good information I do appreciate it. :)
    Live one day at a time and do it with no regrets. I hold my head up high with pride to the fact that i wont let my injury beat me.
    Lumbar surgery 2009
    Cervical fusion C4 to C7 2009
    Neurostimulator 2010
    Heart ablation 2011
    Lumbar fusion L4 to S1 2012 and now L1 2 3 and 4 are split and bulging.
  • I have just started taking Lyrica in the last 7 days.
    Amongst the usual horror side effects I have been as dry as a bone! eyes, nose & mouth to counter this I have been sucking on bolied sweets and fizzy candy to stimulate saliva and to try stop me from eating 24 /7 LOL which isn't working that well!!!

    I can eat a whole packet of biscuits - Fig Rolls are my current fad - and not notice that I have eaten the all until the packet is empty - not aware that I am hunger just constantly almost subcontiously eating !!!

    OK so I am part way through my lunch and a client has kindly brought us cakes so I am now off to devour a strawberry & cream pastry - this is intentional but boy am I looking forward to it !!!! LOL

  • I noticed with Lyrica that my normal portion control went out the window. So if you are tracking your calories using former portions, you might be off. Because as Dorset Boy said, I had these cravings and they were unstoppable.

    I switched to Topamax and now I have to remind myself to eat.

    On Lyrica, I would have read "strawberry and cream pastry" and instantly had to have one.

    I was eating Girl Scout Cookies like they were highly addictive drugs.

    So anyway, I gained all that weight. I ended up with a blood pressure spike that seems out of proportion to the weight, though, and now must take it off ASAP. So the Topamax is helpful. I've gotten 10 lbs off already.

  • you are funny!!!

    I am from the UK, lived in the States for the last 19 years but I know about the chocolate and the cakes over there, wayyyy too good to resist!!! For now, Enjoy!!! Men don't usually gain the weight like us ladies do, but I am sure if you over indulge all the time it will become a problem, good luck to you too!!!

    Just a word of caution on the Phentermine, its not safe for everyone, especially if you have heart or blood pressure issues. Only a doctor can decide if its right for you and at what doseage and for how long. Some of my friends went to the doctors to get on it and were turned down, however if you do get a script for it, it has few side effects and its successful....it really helps take the hunger away.

    If anyone has any questions about this, don't hesitate to ask...I have stopped it for now because I am having surgery next week, a laminectomy and a foraminotomy but my PCP told me he will put me back on the phentermine afterwards to help me make sure I don't pack the pounds back on, mainly due to lack of exercise while I recover.

    Good luck to all!!!
  • I have some Phentermine, but I am afraid to take it with all of my other meds. I have previously lost weight without medication and would love to continue that. I wish I could exercise at a heart pounding rate. I will consider the phentermine after a talk with my pharmacist.

    Good luck and don't lose "focus" LOL

  • to use the phentermine to loose some of the inital weight and then you can maintain it on your own. My PCP said my meds would not interfere with it but its a great idea to check with your pharmacist.

    Good luck Traci

  • I'm glad someone thinks I am funny !! LOL

    To make things worse, my office is right next to a small factory that makes hand made chocolates and their shop is diagonally across the way from us !!! mmmm

    Sometimes the smell as we walk out the door is fantastic!!!!!!!!!!

    The shop is renowned here in the UK as one of the top three in the country & they supply Harrods & F&M amongst others.

    Luckily for me though it is too strong and too high in cocoa for me - but i love their sugar mice!!! - I so have no will power!! LOL

  • Focus,
    All medication puts us into the zone for gaining weight and when the full gravity of the pain and its impact hits, who would not seek some solace or comfort in food.

    The pain itself keeps us in a permanent state of having to work twice as hard for a declining performance and that over time is difficult. We should applaud our effort in seeking weight loss and it is important to only view medication as part of the problem for weight gain, some of this is behaviour, habit or for emotional reasons. Medication does limit those windows of opportunity, motivation or just the practicality of trying to reduce our weight, it is not easy.

    It is not as simple as when and if we reduce our medication in type or volume our weight will reduce as a consequence, so something else is going on. In being happier or positive which is a constant objective, we are more able to address or weight issues, our array of other constant issues need to be on the rise if we are to have any success in long range weight reduction.

    In moments of need I have lived on 1000 calories and in conjunction with constant pain this is not easy, we are mandated to reduce our intake of food based on the reality that we can no longer do the activity needed, it just takes longer. Men should have about 2300-2500 calories per day, once you get the portion size nearer this may help, and an action plan for when those tempting moments arrive.

    Hey we are all doing well, at least we are trying.

    Take care John
  • that that Strawberry tart yesterday was fantastic - it really hit the spot & kept me going..................for all of 10 minutes!!! LOL then I could have been ready for another one - but I did resist temptation!!!

    Hope you have a good weekend

  • Thanks John and everyone else for this great insight. My PCP and PCM all said it was triggered by being sedentary and portion control. I signed myself up for two nutrition classes offered in an attempt to show I care about what's happened. For all of you and the desserts ugh I wish that I could eat that stuff I have a wicked sweet tooth that I have to keep under control. :)
    Live one day at a time and do it with no regrets. I hold my head up high with pride to the fact that i wont let my injury beat me.
    Lumbar surgery 2009
    Cervical fusion C4 to C7 2009
    Neurostimulator 2010
    Heart ablation 2011
    Lumbar fusion L4 to S1 2012 and now L1 2 3 and 4 are split and bulging.
  • ..when my PCP put down "Obesity" on my referral paperwork. What the...happened to me :jawdrop: UGH!

    Sorry about that. Now I've been put on Lyrica for fibro- talk about icing on the cake. I CANNOT get any bigger. But I'm so hungry all the time L)

    So the sedentary lifestyle due to chronic pain makes you gain weight, the meds do it to you, and I also heard my pain pump is another culprit. I guess I should stop eating altogether ~X(
  • FYI for the phentermine users.

    I like taking it I was on it last summer- it counters the effects of some of the pain meds I have been on. I found out that phentermine is on the NO NO list for surgery. You can not take it for 3 weeks prior to going under anestheisia. Since I quit taking it in October I have gained like 35#'s (mostly I was eating out of control and not getting enough activity). I am fatter than I have ever been and can not stand it any longer.

    Phentermine always has made me want to be more active and kills my appetite pretty well. I have discovered that Norco actually makes me hungry as opposed to Percocet which kills my appetite. Now I am weaning myself off the pain meds despite still having a fare amount of pain.

    I will soon be going on Topamx and Phentermine (doc agree's I need a boost). I have started eating about 90% vegetarian, and eating on the gylcemic index and have actually gained 3 more pound in the last 3 weeks..... Now I found out my Thyroid is off so I will be adding the Synthroid (which should help as well).


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